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Mother of child with disability cannot be denied child-care leaves: Supreme Court

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In a move prioritising inclusion, the Supreme Court of India has said that denying child-care leaves to a mother, who is taking care of a child with disabilities, would violate the constitutional duty of the State to ensure equal participation of women in the workforce. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala said this earlier this week while hearing a petition seeking grant of child-care leave (CCL) to the petitioner, who is an assistant professor of Geography in Himachal Pradesh.
Observing that the petition has raised a “serious” issue, the Supreme Court (SC) said that “Participation of women in the workforce is not a matter of privilege but a constitutional requirement of which, the State as a model employer cannot be oblivious”. The apex court also directed the state authorities to consider the plea by the petitioner, who is a mother.
The court passed the ruling when the petitioner was denied leave to take care of her son, who suffers from certain genetic disorders since birth, because she had exhausted all her sanctioned leaves.

State Govt asked to revise CCL Policy

The state government has been directed by the Supreme Court to revise its policy on child-care leave (CCL) in order to make it consistent with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
“Ultimately, the plea does entrench on areas of policy and areas of State policy must be synchronous with constitutional safeguards. We direct the State of Himachal Pradesh to reconsider CCL to mothers consistent with the RPWD Act for mothers who are bringing up mothers of children with special needs,” CJI D Y Chandrachud said.
Supreme Court Of India
The Supreme Court Of India

State Committee directed to take policy decision

The SC court has also directed setting up of a committee, which will be headed by the Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh to take a policy decision on the issue of grant of child-care leaves (CCLs) to working women who have differently abled children. Apart from the Chief Secretary, the committee will have secretaries of women and child development and the social welfare department of the state. The abovementioned committee will have to take a decision regarding child-care leaves by the 31st of July.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

As per the National Human Rights Commission of India, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act was enacted in the year 2016 and came into force from 19th April, 2017. It replaced the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The objective of the RPwD Act is to ensure that all Persons with Disabilities can lead their lives with dignity, without discrimination and with equal opportunities. The Act lays down specific provisions to uphold such rights. It incorporates the rights of Persons with Disabilities covered under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.

The Act ensures the rights of women and children with disabilities

Section 4 of this Act states that the appropriate government and local authorities shall take measures to ensure that women and children with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others. The section further states that all children with disabilities have the right to freely express their views on all matters affecting them and that, for this, support will be provided to keep in view their age and disability.

Children with disabilities not to be separated from their parents

Section 9 of the Act states that no child with disability shall be separated from his or her parents on the grounds of disability except on an order of a competent court, if required, in the best interest of the child.